Did you know that spearfishing almost became an Olympic sport? Spearfishing came close to being recognized as an Olympic sport in the 1960s, but unfortunately, it never actually happened.
Spears have been used for fishing since the stone age. Like anything else, freediving or spearfishing requires discipline and perseverance to get better at it.
Becoming a proficient spearo requires a great deal of training, practice, and experience. Another thing you need to master as a diver is your breathing. Proper breath hold is essential while remaining underwater.
This article offers tips on holding your breath longer when spearfishing and explains the benefits of proper breathing techniques for a spearo.
Proper breathing techniques are essential when free diving or spearfishing because they can affect your body’s physical performance if done incorrectly AND more importantly can kill you (hyperventilation directly causes shallow water blackout and is one the greatest risks to a spearo). Consistently practicing dry-training exercises can help you hold your breath longer while spearfishing.
If you want to know more about improving your breath-hold, check out freediving questions answered by Adam Stern. You can also read more below to learn tips on holding your breath longer.
Another primary concern for freedivers is dehydration. A freediver can be at risk of dehydration due to overactive sweat glands. These overactive sweat glands can make divers sweat profusely in a wetsuit. As a diver, it is crucial to stay hydrated before going underwater. We recommend Aqualyte, an Australian made product tailored for people who pursue high exertion/high dehydration activities like spearfishing. Noob Spearo are an affiliate for Aqualyte so the GOOD news is;
You get a discount! Use the code: NOOBSPEARO at checkout to save
Tips to Improve Your Breath-Hold
If you want to improve your breath-hold time, do it gradually. Be careful to avoid overdoing it, and proceed at a comfortable pace. Remember to relax and allow your breathing to return to normal (tidal breathing) if you feel dizzy.
Try these tips if you want to hold your breath longer than your usual.
1. Try practicing your breath-hold at home.
You can practice breath-hold dives in your own home by practicing dry training. This training allows you to practice freediving breath-hold from the comfort of your home.
You can practice the three parts of a breath-hold dive while lying in bed or on your sofa. Learn how to practice full breaths, breath-up (cadenced breathing), and recovery (hook) breathing.
2. Exercise regularly to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Remember that the lungs are an air tank and can only hold so much air. Although your lung capacity is determined by genetics (and how flexible your rib cage is), you can increase it through cardiovascular training.
Cardiovascular exercises are the best way to improve your overall fitness. By practicing some exercises while holding your breath (think safety!), you will develop the ability to hold your breath longer and improve efficiency. Prolonged cardio exercise can help you build lung capacity.
3. You can hire a coach or a professional instructor.
If you are interested in freediving, look for a local training center and check out their courses. When you learn freediving, not only will you be able to enjoy the sport yourself, but you’ll also be part of a community of active freedivers.
Freediving is a lifestyle and an enjoyable sport. Investing in an excellent coach is key to becoming the best freediver you can be.
Importance of Proper Breathing Techniques When Diving
Our lungs have an incredible ability to adapt during exercise. When the need for oxygen rises, our lungs expand and take in more.
Breathing training can teach you to take in more and if you practice O2 exercises, you can extend your hypoxic threshold and make your body use oxygen more efficiently.
Blood oxygenation happens when oxygen enters your body during inhalation and is carried by the blood to every part of your vital system.
When oxygen gets into your bloodstream, it travels to cells all over your system to create energy and sustain your body. Proper breathing techniques are not only important for swimming or diving but also for everyday life.
Muscles need oxygen whenever physical activity is involved, so we tend to breathe heavily and rapidly when running or walking. This is caused by increased CO2. Your tolerance to CO2 can also be improved with training and you can learn to understand the urge to breathe in your own body through training.
Another benefit from proper breathing techniques is that it can help you release tension when exhaling while swimming. This release helps you swim more efficiently and conserve energy, making every stroke count. When you resurface after a dive and have finished recovery breathing, allow your body to return to normative breathing – we call this tidal breathing. Your breathing should be easy and relaxed, exhale away any tension and enjoy the benefits on your next dive.
As you can see, breath control and understanding is important and beneficial for spearfishing. It is one of the most basic things you can focus on to improve your proficiency for spearfishing.
However, always remember that mastering your breathing techniques requires time and dedication. Don’t be in a huge rush just to improve your breath-hold, learn to hunt with whatever your capability is now and enjoy the journey.
Be patient and work persistently. It may take you years to master proper breath control and relaxation, but what you learn during your training can make a big difference in your spearfishing journey.
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This recipe comes from David Kirkpatrick a man famous for saying (and I quote), “I’m just a guy frying up some squid”. David has spent considerable time chasing Squid in Melbourne and now Western Australia. One tip for hunting squid while spearfishing is to dive bomb them. The alternative style of approaching from on the same level can be difficult. They are also susceptible to coming in to inspect their speared colleagues, so leave your prey to dangle and your mate may take one for himself. Enjoy Davids Peri Peri squid recipe – it looks the goods!
Here is a mint recipe from my youngest brother Joash in New Zealand. Pāua is a special treat for most kiwis and so people usually have their own go-to recipe for making the most of them. If done wrong, Pāua can be tough as a gumboot so if you want to get it right and avoid this, follow a recipe (or method for tenderizing) that works for you. – Shrek
Serves: 3 people
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Above left: Pāua shell (image:stuff.co.nz). Below left: Pāua or Abalone attached to rock (image: New Zealand Geographic). Right ingredients for Curried Pāua Recipe
This is a quick (1 min) story from a member of the Noob Spearo Community. Certainly gives you some ideas about working as a Police Diver!– Shrek
Hi mate, I’ve been meaning to send these to you for ages. This will make me the undisputed poo story king!
I was a member of the AFP’s Police Dive Squad for about 7 years back in the late 90s to mid 2000s. These pics are of me looking for a sawn off shot gun that had been used in an armed hold up. The crooks drove past a sewerage treatment plant and the Detectives thought the gun might have been thrown in one of the settling ponds.
I was on overtime, so I had to take one for the team! That said, the air was a lot cleaner and smelt a lot better inside the suit than it did for the boys watching!
I was wearing a chem suit which bloody filled up with air and from memory, I had to wear 40-50 pounds of lead to get me to the bottom. It was so viscous that fins were pointless. I just had to drag myself along the bottom doing arc searches.
The saying I was up to my neck in shit doesn’t do it justice. I was literally in deep shit! 6 meters deep!
Shrek “What a cool gig – besides the pooventures of course. Dead bodies decomposing would be rough too I guess?”
Body recoveries were the downside to the job and unfortunately, I was involved with a few. Almost all our diving was in zero visibility and the adrenaline pump you get when you find the body in that environment (by feel!) is something I never want to experience again.
Fortunately, we never had to recover one that had decomposed too much. Unless a body is weighed down well, the gasses that generate inside as decomposition starts, floats them to the surface within a matter of days. The warmer the water, the quicker the process. Divers aren’t usually required once they are on the surface. Water Police take care of that (or they did back in my day).